THESIS I: Hitherto the effects of the disobedience of our first parents that were concerning themselves: those follow that reach to all their posterity, and so us also: and they are sins, or the punishments of sins.
EXPLANATION: * In the schools was received a distinction of evils into the evil of fault and the evil of punishment: which was also used by the Fathers, Tertullian, Augustine, and all the Scholastic Doctors. Where it is to be observed in particular, that here evil is taken for misery: in which sense the distribution in the evil of fault and the evil of punishment is adequate. For all human misery is fault or punishment. Punishment is expressed by the term evil: Psalm 91:10; Proverbs 13:21; 14:22; Isaiah 31:2; 45:7; Jeremiah 19:3, 15; Lamentations 3:38; Amos 3:6; Luke 16:25.
THESIS II: Sin is original or actual.
THESIS III: Original sin is the defect that from his first origin or nativity man draws with him from his mother’s womb.
THESIS IV: It is imputed or inherent.
THESIS V: Imputed original sin is the disobedience of Adam and Eve, which is imputed to all their posterity, no otherwise than as if they themselves had actually also violated the law of God concerning not eating the fruit of the forbidden tree.
EXPLANATION: I. That the disobedience of our first parents is imputed to us, in such a way that together with them we are reckoned to have violated that ceremonial law, concerning not eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, is proven out of Romans 5:12, where all are said to have sinned in Adam: which is not able to be understood, except concerning the imputation of the disobedience of Adam. For those that were not yet in act, when Adam sinned, neither were able to sin in act. Therefore, we are said to have sinned, because God imputed the sin of Adam even to those born long after. Thus also in verse 18, from the one offense guilt is to to have entered unto the condemnation of all. Therefore, as the righteousness of the second Adam, that is, Christ is imputed to us unto life: so the unrighteousness of Adam was imputed to us unto death. Hence Theologians teach, that Adam did not sin as an individual person: but that he represented mankind as in the root and source: and so his sin is imputed to all mankind.
II. We have the sentence of Scripture, concerning the sin of Adam imputed to all his posterity. Yet, with this notwithstanding, some contend that the actual sin of Adam is not original sin in his posterity; and that by this argument.
Original sin is in act.
But the sin of Adam is not in act.
Therefore, the sin of Adam is not original.
The major is proven: Because all sin is in act.
The minor is proven: Because the sin of Adam has already ceased to be.
Response: If that only be said to be in act, which now exists in act, either as subject, or in the subject, I deny the major with a proof. For, in the same manner one could argue:
The righteousness, whereby before the tribunal of God we are freed from the curse of the law, is in act.
But the penal satisfaction of Christ, that is, His suffering and death endured for us, is not in act.
Therefore, the penal satisfaction of Christ is not the righteousness whereby before the tribunal of God we are freed from the curse of the law.
The major is proven: Because there is no reason why original sin ought to be in act, rather than the righteousness through which we are pronounced just and absolved of original sin and its punishment.
The minor is proven: Because Christ has long since ceased to suffer and die for us.
But the conclusion of this syllogism is false: therefore, one of the premises is false. Not the minor; therefore, the major: and by the same right the falsity of the major of the first syllogism is to be argued. But if in some way that which is imputed in act is said also to be in act, even if it should cease to be or to exist in act: we deny the minor of the first syllogism. And in this manner we say that the penal satisfaction of Christ, which by grace is imputed to us, or is reckoned to be ours, is in act. In this sense we are said to be dead with Christ, Romans 6:8; all were dead, because one died for all, 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.
III. It is asked, Whether the disobedience of Adam, our first parent, is justly imputed to us by God?
Response: It is justly imputed.
(1.) For Adam also represented the whole human race, and was placed in that state of primeval felicity with that law, that, should he obey God, his obedience would be imputed to all his posterity, and they would have been reckoned to have obeyed God.
(2.) Because by nature all in general approve of the the disobedience of Adam, and are inclined toward the same.
THESIS VI: Inherent is the hereditary corruption from the fall of our first parents, naturally propagated to us, making us liable to temporal and eternal punishments.
EXPLANATION: I. That natural corruption inheres in all men, even infants that are yet in their mother’s womb, is proven from Scripture.
Psalm 51:5: In sin did my mother conceive me.
Job 14:4: Who shall bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
Ephesians 2:3: We were by nature children of wrath.
Romans 5:14: Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression. See Exercitation 37.
* II. Pelagius, a Briton by nation, about the year of our Lord 410, taught that the sin of Adam harmed Adam alone, and denied that it passed to his posterity. Thence he contends that men die by the law of nature, not as a punishment for sin. But finally in a Synod in Palestine it was confessed that the sin of Adam also harmed his posterity, and anathematized those thinking the contrary. But, with the Synod dissolved, he thus explained his own mind: that Adam harmed his posterity, not by a natural contagion or the propagation of sin, but only by example.
III. Some Papists, not acknowledging original sin properly so called, except imputed, deny that original sin is an inherent corruption of human nature. Among their other arguments are:
(1.) If the nature of man has been corrupted by its origin, it will be a corruption either of soul or of body.
But there is no corruption of soul or of body.
Therefore, human nature has not been corrupted by its origin.
Response: We deny the minor. The Papists first prove that the soul in not corrupt.
If the soul were corrupt, it would be corrupt either by creation, or by the body.
But not by creation: because, if it were corrupted by the creator, God would be the author of that corruption and sin: which is absurd. Not by the body: because the material and bodily is not able of itself to act upon the soul as spirit.
Response: That man is corrupt from the womb, we have proven from evident testimonies of Scripture. To which we could acquiesce, even if we were altogether ignorant of the manner of the propagation of this corruption: for in the Theologics of those matters that God has not revealed in His word, ignorance harms no one, neither is it prejudicial at all to faith.
Learned men, therefore, say, what in this difficulty it is able to be said: That original Corruption is not by creation per se, nor by the body principally. Not by creation per se; because, when an aspect of punishment enters in, it ought to be referred to God, not as creator, but as judge, and is more properly called privation than corruption. For God creates the souls of men: but, by just judgment, He deprives them of original righteousness, and that by the deserving of Adam, who yielded the deserving of his posterity, that they be not presented with original righteousness by God in the creation of their souls: and at the same time He derived guilt upon them; seeing that they are reckoned sinners on account of the want of the divine image, which they do not have by their own fault, and yet are required to have. Whence corruption, insofar as it is sin, is not by creation, but by the fault of fallen man.
This privation is followed by an inclination to the opposite, namely, actual unrighteousness; which is not from the creator; but partly from the soul punished by God; partly from the body, which is corrupt, propagated from the corrupt, and assigned as the lodging and organ of the soul: consenting to which, the soul corrupts itself, and in its own way is corrupted by the body.
Therefore, thus the corruption falls upon the soul also from the body: not because of itself and directly the body acts upon the soul, as the soul acts upon the body; but because the corrupt body excites the consenting soul to depraved inclination. Hence that saying is familiar to all: The habits of the soul follow the temperament of the body. Hitherto concerning the corruption of the soul.
[That the body is not corrupt, the Papists thus prove:]
The human body from its own elements and by reason of composition has this, that it is corruptible, and is directed towards those things that are supportive of it, even if they are opposed to righteousness, of which the body is not of itself capable.
Therefore, the body is not corrupt.
The rationale of the consequence: because what is such or such by its own elements and by reason of composition is not able to be called corrupt.
Response: The antecedent is partly ambiguous, partly false. The human body by its elements and composition was corruptible, with respect to remote, not near, potency: for it was composed in such a way that before sin there was nothing in it that might incline to ruin. Whence mortality and death were introduced by sin. But what is said, that the body from its primary elements, even before the fall, had this, that it was inclined to those things that are opposed to divine righteousness; is plainly false and blasphemous.
(2.) If original sin were the corruption of nature, certainly individual infants would have their own sin.
But the consequence is false: therefore also the antecedent.
The minor is proven: because they are not under the law, since they are destitute of the use of reason.
Response: We deny the minor: the proof is invalid. Infants, although destitute of the use of reason, are under the law. For in every man the law requires the perfect image of God: whoever is destitute of it is condemned by the law. And, if infants are not under the law, are they reckoned sinners because of the imputed sin of Adam?
 Romans 5:18: “Therefore as by the offence of one (δι᾽ ἑνὸς παραπτώματος) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (δι᾽ ἑνὸς δικαιώματος) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”